I remember scrolling through the @asmeinternship Instagram account as I was working on my application and seeing that a previous intern with The Knot had gotten to go to Kleinfeld Bridal (the legendary bridal salon where Say Yes to the Dress is filmed) and even try on dresses. Once I received my acceptance into the program and my placement with The Knot, I was secretly hoping that a trip to Kleinfeld's would be a part of my internship experience.
I grew up watching TLC with my sister, and Say Yes to the Dress was one of our favorite shows. My love for weddings, and their dresses specifically, eventually spread into the bridal magazines I would check out from our local library and the Pinterest account I started (which had a board devoted to all things wedding).
When my high school church youth group took a trip to New York City my freshman year, my small group (of mostly girls) worked a trip to see Kleinfeld's into our schedule. Even though the list of NYC attractions detailed that you can't go into the salon without an appointment, we wanted to just see the building and the exquisite dresses in the windows. When we finally made it to the store we stood on the sidewalk gawking at the gowns and displays in the windows, knowing we couldn't go in. However, a woman called out to us and asked what we were doing. We explained that we were just looking since we didn't have an appointment. She asked where we were from and we said we were visiting from Wisconsin. Much to our surprise, she told us she was the owner and would be happy to bring us in and show us around. The entire time she was showing us around the dressing rooms, stockrooms and alterations floor, I was absolutely freaking out! I took a ton of photos and made sure to have someone take one of me in the stock room on my flip phone (see below)! After our tour I ran out and called my parents to tell them what I had gotten to do. I'm pretty sure they thought something horrible had happened, but I was actually just living a dream!
Fast forward to the first day of my internship with The Knot. My supervisor had me write up my interests and goals as they related to my summer with The Knot. Since I had seen that going to Kleinfeld's was previously a possibility, I included my love for the show on my list and mentioned that it would be so fun to take a trip to the store. From the moment I explained this interest to my supervisor and told her the story above, she set to work on making a trip to Kleinfeld's happen! The Knot used to have a robust company-wide internship program that helped coordinate a trip to the store (among other things) but my supervisor worked to schedule a trip for the editorial interns and new-hires. When I got the calendar notification email for the trip I freaked out! I would be returning to Kleinfeld Bridal and this trip I might get to actually try on dresses!
After a few morning meetings, a group of us walked to a nearby subway station and made our way to the Kleinfeld Bridal store in Chelsea. I felt powerful walking up to the store with my heels on and carrying my Kate Spade work bag. This time I got to walk right in and my supervisor told the women at the desk that we had an appointment with the director of marketing & public relations. Jennette Kruszka came up to meet us and took us on a tour of the entire store. We got to walk through the showroom where new dresses hung on racks on every wall and actual brides-to-be were shopping with their "entourage." I even got to the iconic Pnina Tornai boutique with over-the-top expensive gowns. Next we got to wade through the stockroom where dresses were hung from floor to ceiling just waiting to be tried on. The final stop on our tour was the lower level where brides-to-be come in for their alteration appointments and teams of women work to take dresses in and redo any beading and appliqué. I was amazed by the attention to detail and craftsmanship of these artisans. So much time and effort goes into one woman's dress.
As if this tour wasn't already a dream come true, as we returned to the main floor, Jennette turned to us and asked if we wanted to try on dresses. All of us looked at each other with mouths agape as if we were saying "is that even a question?" We gave a resounding "YES!" They told us any dress was fair game. We could tell them if we knew of a dress we wanted to try on, or we could choose from dresses displayed in the showroom.
Once I found out that a trip to Kleinfeld's was a strong possibility, I had scoured their Instagram for inspiration. I fell in love with a heavily beaded sheath style dress with a scalloped neckline, and saved it on my account. I pulled the image up and the employee helping me knew exactly the designer and style name (Jane Hill, Luella). We ventured into the stockroom and managed to find the dress in the sea of white. I carried the gown back to our dressing room and eagerly slipped into the dress. The dress fit PERFECTLY; it was like it was made for me! As I walked out into the showroom and stood in front of a mirror, I fell even more in love with the gown. I may be far far away from having to actually pick out my wedding dress, but a girl can dream! My phone quickly filled up with photos of me swirling in this beautiful gown. I dreaded having to leave because that would mean returning to my basic work clothes.
Sadly the time came to wake up from our dream and return to reality (aka our office). I will truly never forget the afternoon we got to spend at Kleinfeld's and I am so thankful to their team for welcoming us and to my supervisor for scheduling this trip. It was an absolute dream come true! You never know, maybe in a few years I'll find myself returning to Kleinfeld Bridal, but this time with my family to search for the perfect dress!